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Tag Archives: power structures

Anyone who lived through the 80s in Brazil has a bitter memory of hyperinflation, when prices changed every week.

The amount of money back then was a kind of fiction, a convention. At first glance, you’d think we had lots of money, because the amounts were measured by such huge numbers. 10’000 was change. Everyone was a millionaire then, because a million was the price of a meal. The number was meaningless, as it would change soon. 2 did not really mean 1 + 1, it was just a name.

That made me think about how should we measure the size of a bribe. Read More »

The social-body has it’s own kind of health, like the personal body, that is an dynamic equilibrium, a constant changing to persist, to become strong/beautiful.

{Why is it so difficult to say those things without saying not-the-not-those things?}

It looks like we’ll have to come up with new forms for this collective health.

And maybe it is even worthwhile to come up with institutions, rules, morals, governments, and structures of all kinds to go together with this new invention. But i sincerely doubt it.

«You do know how to dance already» should mean that there is no revo VS bourgeois , there is no utopia VS realpolitik, there is no freedom VS tyranny. Every social action that paints itself as criticism grows vulnerable (and medium-term helplessly victim) of co-optation into its opposite. Left always ends up serving the few. True enhancement of society always looks more like tools than flags. That’s the deep mistake of the 11th thesis on Feuerbach. Of course this kind of change is much harder to see, but it’s strengths lie in subtlety and complexity.

{At first, the printing press had a somewhat DIY punk «info wants to be free» cling to it. Books were sold very cheap. It was a revolution going on and people knew it. Gradually, the revo was co-opted, and books became business, which meant priced as to maximize revenue instead of the freedom of information. And still the revolutionary side of it kept on flowing underneath. (Of course, this is a terrible historical description of the time, but it captures the deeper meaning of the underlying dynamics: competition on price «cheap and lots» can slowly morph into competition on quality «few but expensive», but the opposite migration is extremely hard to accomplish.) There are many reasons for it all, but what’s really important is that the onset of the co-opted-revo does not really take away the tools that eased us into change, it just applies them to the same old same-old. At that point, to revolutionize means deepening instead of spreading, and the required mind-bend can be hard and demotivating.}

Every paradise-fable is «BAD» if it instils action away from the now, a goal that exists only at the unattainable horizon. But abstraction is always a denial of immediatim. Best move cont:chess is the one that realifies the future, that solidifies long-term. (From there the seduction of infinite thought and platonic purity).

This leaves us with two non-possibilities:

  • to plan an abstract future that is not inhabited by us and our children (eg.: Marx, Thoureau)
  • to reform a system from «Consumer Service» complaints, hoged by the same vocabulary (eg.: Keynes, Lula)

Even this very picture is impossible a priori since it identifies 2 systems, dichotomizes, and thus throws away the very possibility of unbiased thinking. It reifies transcendence. Shall we identify “the good system” with presence in art and then turn non-artistic life banal? Or shall we approve everyday life and marginalize aesthetic experience? Are we that dumb?

To open yourself to the world, or give meaning to the world?

{Description of idealistic societies always contain “The Kingdom of Cockagney”, abundance, plenty, but that distracts us from the underlying ethos. A group ridden by internal strife is long-term unstable even if roasted chicken rains from the skies. Afluence can dim tension in the short term, and we can’t play society-enhancement without energy, but the real issues lie much much deeper. In fact, the very focus on money suggests a lack of a suitable modus vivendi.}

All these measures are, in some way, attempts at answering: What is a society good for? Problem is (and the subtlety of the thing) it’s impossible to answer this question. More precisely: This is the question that must be kept open, must be constantly reworked. The search for Meaning-Imagination-Relevance is, itself, part of a social metabolism. It is exactly because each and everyone is trying to build her own personal freedom through the group that the group attains its higher potential: Transcendence. Silence is not keeping questions open. Ideology isn’t either. And this experience, even the experience of this possibility, must feel exhilarating: Hope.

I hereby present a theory (actually, an hypothesis). Human beings can only acquire central political roles in society after around 60 years age. They may be successful or famous, but they become part of the backbone of society, and they opinions acquire real weight, only after 60. Thus the few persons who do have a chance, however small, of being placed in such roles tend to sharpen their skills constantly up to around their late 50s. At that age it becomes clear whether or not they will be there, and if that turns up to not be the case, they start to get complacent and frivolous. Thus the manager who used to read lots of complicated books suddenly turns her “diet” to Harry Potter and bestsellers only, the guy who used to have his own ideas suddenly starts to quote more and more and more. Obviously there are exceptions to this sad softening and shallowing at 60: those exceptions (which are the real leaders), i gues they develop an even more interesting and deep intellectual life — about that, maybe just maybe, if you return here in 31 years i might tell something about.